Bangor - Keele Animal Navigation Group

The Bangor-Keele Animal Navigation Group is a cross-university research group of likeminded scientists. Currently, the group unifies two teams from two UK universities: one is led by Prof. Richard Holland based at Bangor University; another recently established team is led by Dr. Dmitry Kishkinev based at Keele University. Together these teams are working in the pursuit of better understanding the underlying principles of animal navigation. We investigate animal navigation in a wide variety of different animal species ranging from the humble homing pigeon to bats and migratory songbirds such as European robins. We have formed large individual networks with scientists at leading universities around the world to investigate the phenomenon in even more species and broader ecological contexts, including migration, movement ecology and visual guidance of flight.

School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK
Emails: Prof. Richard Holland or Dr. Dmitry Kishkinev

Prospective Masters / PhD students or Postdocs

If you are interested in joining our research, please send us an email expression of interest, explaining your background and research interests.

Available Projects:

Sensory systems for short- and long-distance navigation in birds
This is an ongoing collaborative research project between BANG at Bangor University (PI - Prof Richard Holland) and Keele University (PI - Dr Dmitry Kishkinev, ex. BANG and now a lecturer and group lead at Keele - this is Dmitry's Keele web-page). This is a continuation of our previous projects funded by UKRI/BBSRC and Russian Science Foundation. Currently, we are in the process of securing further funding for this project. In this project we aim to deepen our knowledge on how birds can navigate across different scales using natural cues such as the sun, starts and Earth's magnetic field and how human activities such as artificial light at night and electromagnetic pollution can impact bird navigation. We will use the best animal models fit to the purpose: homing pigeons for short-distance flights with GPS trackers near Bangor (research loft at a beautiful Treborth Botanical Garden) and captive migratory songbirds such as reed warblers tested in orientation round arenas in controlled magnetic conditions at our established site at Biological Station Illmitz, Austria. We use pigeons to study how the sun compass works and how these non-migratory birds yet navigators can return home from distances up to 100's of miles using a combination of familiar landmarks near the loft but also integrating some other not fully understood cues such as magnetic and solar ones. We study migratory songbirds to understand in detail how they can navigate across vast distances using Earth's magnetic field. Here we ask the following questions: what geomagnetic parameters (inclination, declination, intensity or their combination) can migratory birds use for finding their position? What sensory systems are involved in measuring these navigational cues? Can at least some birds use and measure magnetic declination and if yes how they measure that? Can anthropogenic light at night and electromagnetic pollution overwhelm and disturb bird navigation system and in what conditions? These and pertinent questions are in the focus of this project. Please emails us in need further details and what funding could be available for your participation.
Requirements: Prospective PGR students and/or postdoctoral researchers should be highly motivated, animal friendly, interested in working with birds in both laboratory and field conditions in Bangor, UK, and overseas (Austria).
Please send your expresion of interest to Prof. Richard Holland or Dr. Dmitry Kishkinev
Copyright BANG - Bangor Animal Navigation Group, Design: Dr. I. Schiffner